In the digital age, every organisation would like to think that they are harnessing the power of technology to the best of their ability. The truth is, some do it better than others. Those who use digital products more effectively are deemed more “ready to digitally transform”, which puts them closer to digital maturity.

Digital Leadership provides the following definition: “digital maturity is a measure of how ready an organisation is to digitally transform”.

So, being digitally mature is all about ensuring technology and digital tools intertwine seamlessly with the members and strategy of your organisation. This means that you would be ready to take your use of technology to the next level.

What kinds of things are assessed?

Digital Leadership puts forward a 15 point framework for measuring digital capabilities, and attitudes to the digital world. 15 competencies are measured on a scale of one to five, with one representing “basic digital operation” and five representing “transformed and changing”. They specify that

The 15 competencies analysed can be seen on the post-it notes in the image below.

It is worth explaining how a couple of the more abstract items fit into a scale of digital maturity.

Taking budget for example, a company could fall at the high end of the scale if they specifically set funds aside to improve their digital operations in the future. Organisations would come towards the lower end if they only budgeted for the most basic of technology, and put no thought towards future growth.

The data management category concerns how well an organisation makes use of its digital data to shape future decisions. To come at the lower end of the digital maturity scale for this category, a company would have to manage a lot of its data offline, and use it to guide non-digital decisions.

A clear pattern begins to emerge when looking at the standards necessary to be considered a company ready for digital transformation. It is all about having a system set up which makes use of data, and embracing the usefulness of live data. Companies with an ambivalent attitude to the power of data would never be able to rank highly.

In fact, increased digitization has been earmarked as one of the main reasons behind a fourth industrial revolution.

Digital maturity in marketing

When looking to expand their use of digital tools, many companies might focus on the services they can offer their customers or how they reach out to potential customers. Doing this well is another hallmark of digital maturity, and according to MediaBeacon, there are six specific values that must be assessed. These fall under the heading “leadership concerns” in the image below.

  • Executive mentality - this concerns how much importance the leaders of the company give to a digital marketing process.
  • Visibility and connectivity - are digital efforts widespread knowledge across the organisation, or limited to certain team members?
  • Risk management - to what degree has the implementation of digital solutions been analysed beforehand?
  • Quality standards - this describes how easily the company can monitor the quality of digital implementation across the organisation.
  • Cost position - does the implementation of digital solutions place much of a strain on finances?
  • Responsiveness - how easily can the company make changes to technology depending on customer feedback?

As seen in the model, if a company can master these six metrics then they are well on the way to achieving digital maturity in terms of their marketing strategy. Nonetheless, it is tricky to carry out effective risk analyses, for example, if experience with digital solutions is limited. This is one reason why it is becoming more popular to hire social scientists. They help companies to understand how customers will likely receive any new technology, using principles from psychology and human behaviourism.

What else can be done to achieve digital maturity?

A joint effort by MIT Sloan and Deloitte, based on 3,500 survey respondents including managers and executives, came up with several key points for progression towards digital maturity.

  • It is important to implement innovative changes in how work gets done, and a focus needs to be placed on communication between different teams. More than 70% of respondents from digitally maturing companies stated that they are placing more importance on how work gets done across teams.
  • Looking as far as possible into the future and making plans for digital integration is key. 30% of more digitally mature organisations practised this, whereas only 13% of organisations at the lower end of the scale did.
  • Above all, it is crucial to secure a company leader with the correct vision. Ensure that the leader has a plan to integrate digital tools into the future of the company, otherwise the company will be left far behind by other maturing companies.

Achieving digital maturity is something that should be at the forefront of any progressive company’s agenda. It sets them apart as a company which considers the challenges that lay ahead in the future and seeks to attack them, instead of remaining stuck in the comforts of existing technologies.

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